Struggling to sleep at night with copd

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After seeing a doctor just after Christmas last, due to suspected chest infection and shortness of breath & a persistant cough. Asked me how long I'd had cough, told her about six weeks,  she wouldn't prescribe anti biotics as she felt I didn't have an infection, but noticed crackly breathing,  so prescribed a 5 day course of steroids, also suggested that i have a chest X-ray as soon as possible due to the prolonged cough.  The steroids really helped, and continued to do so for a few days after I'd finished course, but then the breathlessness continued. I returned to doctor and explained my symptoms, also told her that my breathing was worse whilst lying down at night, and would wake up coughing and in the morning bring up a lot of phlegm. She suggested that I have a spirometry test as she suspected COPD. 

Following week, had test done, which seemed to go fine, but was told by practise nurse, I'd have to make an appointment with G.P for results. 

Managed to get appointment two weeks later, doctor seemed to be a little vague as to why I was there, explained I'd had chest X-ray but hadn't had results, also wanted to know the results of my spirometry test.. Told me chest X-ray was clear, also did well with spirometry test. So had to ask him why am I'm so breathless, did I have copd or not? He then told me early stages. Well at least I had an answer. At present I only take the blue ventolin, so doctor said I would like to prescribe you an inhaler that is long lasting called Spiriva.. You take it once a day at the same time of day. Also would like you to see the copd nurse, she holds a clinic once a month, and would be able to explain more to you. 

Well ive been taking Spirva for two weeks now, although initially felt it benefited, but now still struggling to breath lying down. 

I am a smoker but have cut right down, and smoke very little.

My question is, does COPD affect others sleep at night? I constantly wake up coughing, and have to use inhaler. Have added an extra pillow to prop myself up.


1 like, 8 replies


8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi I am surprised your doctor prescribed spiriva as this is a longer acting bronchilator than the others and is usually used to strengthen your lungs.  Normally you would get a preventer such as symbicort etc.  which you use twice a day and it opens up your airways so you can breathe better.  Then you would use the ventolin as and when you became extra breathless. 

    You need to make an urgent appointment to see the respiratory nurse as they know more about lung problems than doctors do.  S/he will sort you out. 

    As far as smoking goes your nurse will nag you unmercifully to give up coz mine does.  I am still stupidly smoking and find my cough is much worse at nighttime and in the mornings.  It often wakes me at night.  To help you need to pack it in you really do. 

    You also need to wash all your bedding in at least 60 degrees otherwise you won't kill the dust mites.  These are a trigger for many asthmatics and copders.  Make sure you vacuum a lot as well to keep dust at bay. 

    The other thing is if you eat a lot of dairy food try and cut it down.  While this doesn't cause mucus it does make it thicker and stickier and harder to cough up.  Drink loads of liquid to help thin it out.  Water or fruit squash is best. 

    I hope this has been helpful. 


    • Posted

       Thank you for your suggestions. To be honest, I can't wait to see the correct doctor, as I feel I've been left in the dark.. 

      As for dairy produce, I'm aware of that, but being vegetarian, cheese is my downfall, but I'm trying. Also trying to drink more water, as I'm a tea & coffee freak.

    • Posted

      Well normally in the UK you don't get referred to a consultant if you are in the early stages of copd.  What you should get is at least an annual copd review with a respiratory nurse. 

      My doctors won't even discuss it with me anymore (unless I have a chest infection or something) and tell me to make an appointment with the nurse as 'They know more than us about lungs anyway'.

  • Posted

    I also meant to say that having copd means that your airways are damaged and the little cillia hairs which trap dust and debris are also damaged which makes it harder for them to get rid of this and makes it harder to cough up mucus. 



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